15 thoughts on “Adobe AIR & Its Hybrid App Dreams”

  1. Om,

    Didn’t Adobe already officially announce AIR? Or are you saying that they are announcing it as a commercial (non-beta) product that can be installed / run / supported / paid for?



    P.S. Insanely great software is hard work. Wouldn’t be ironic if, by the time the really great hybrid apps came along, ubiquitous broadband came to fruition yielding all the hybrid efforts not so useful after all? Its kind of like a race condition.

  2. I just wrote about this in more detail, but I think that what is really interesting here is the strategic threat that this stuff poses to microsoft. Perhaps the most important thing that microsoft has had as a strategic advantage was the fact that if you wanted to write desktop apps you needed to use windows. AIR and Flex abstract the OS layer entirely and make everything cross platform. As I see it this is a death stroke to microsoft’s historically most important advantage.

  3. It’s not just about the offline access. It’s also about extending web applications to the desktop. It’s about creating a more “application”-like experience and less of a web site (which is important to non-technical users). Its about tightly controlling and thereby enhancing the users experience rather than being bound to a browser over-which you have no control. The offline capabilities are important but should not be overstated. If that were the only benefit in a world growing 100% wireless this would surely fail.

  4. It’s also about a really rich graphical layer on top of a web browser. The integration of WebKit into the flash layer has, perhaps, deeper implications than file & OS priveledges.

  5. You are all such great and venerated philosophers, “I have written”, “I have spoken”. !

    If a business has a line operation (CLOB – Capital Line of Business) that it may put on a hosted platform or service, as we say, the relationship between that enterprise and that SAAS account will last exactly until, and only until, a major outage.

    Therefore, chipmunks, the SAAS vendors MUST have a way to preserve data, enable off-line and alternative access, generally, keep disruption to a minimum.

    The conveniences aspect is a secondary issue.

  6. As Brian states, this is more than just offline access. Ideally data & state should reside in the cloud so that it is accessible from anywhere and any device but there should be a mechanism to bring this down to the device and then use the full computing power of the device including DirectX graphics, locally connected peripherals etc. This will provide extremely rich application experience similar to today’s desktop applications and games but with the advantage of roaming & any device.

    To get this right we need a new framework (ie AIR, Silverlight) and also new thinking on the architecture ie how to get data optimally using async protocols, caching of this data, updating the data/state in the cloud, providing the right level of experience based on the computing resources available on the device etc.

  7. When the applications are thsoe that solve problems, beyond those vertical applications, then we should see those RIAs advance beyond something more than a flash in the pan every few months or so. Long tail adoption of web apps would be more able to happen if RIAs pick up, and at the same time, they need to offer more compelling items than just repeating the offline paradigm of use.

  8. Still a big fan of Google Reader’s offline mode. It’s simple and I don’t need it often, but when I do, it’s invaluable. The amount of reading I have to do in a day means getting behind is disastrous. Thanks to Google Gears, I can read even when I’m not connected.

  9. Hi, my company OrganicIncentive.com (go to “trial” tab to see tool) is looking for a great Flex/Air developer to convert our amazing Flex-based drag-n-drop flash widget creation tools to AIR.

    Any takers or does anyone know any people that have spent the last year mastering AIR?

    FaceySpacey.com, Your One Stop Social Media Shop

  10. imho, a hybrid app, for its an offline capability, mainly offers 2 critical benefits:
    a) non-reliance on 100% internet connection
    b) privacy of some critical / private data

    Also, such an app does not have to use Adobe Air not that using Air is undesirable.

    Check out my site for such a non-AIR hybrid app…

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